Role of Inks & Coatings

Inks and coatings are critically important for the recyclability of packaging

Inks and coatings play an essential role in the realization of a Circular Economy in the packaging industry. Due to their technical functionalities they concretely enable the implementation of all three levers in terms of reduction, reuse and recycling of packaging.

Innovative inks and coatings offer the opportunity to close technical performance gaps of certain materials, such as paper and mono-plastic, improving their properties and therefore allowing their use for new applications. Inks and coatings enable e.g. the switch from multi-material plastic to mono-material plastic packaging while maintaining the functionality of the original packaging such as the protection of food and thereby create recyclability of packaging components.

For reusable packaging different ink properties are required for each use cycle. While e.g. the best-before date might have to change with each use, the brand design should stay on the packaging across all use cycles. Here, inks and coatings play a crucial role to provide reusability with maximum cost-efficiency to achieve economies of scale.

Moreover, inks and coatings are critically important for the recyclability of packaging. This requires solutions that do not hinder the recycling process and are e.g. PVC-free. In this context, deinking of packaging is a major topic. The right selection of inks and coatings ensures that only product residues are removed during the washing process, but no color is discharged into the washing water. Good deinking properties of inks and coatings improve the recyclability of packaging and therefore support the transformation of packaging waste into a new valuable resource according to a Circular Economy.

Today, Siegwerk already has a strong track record in customer-specific ink development projects for circular packaging solutions that either increase recyclability, allow composting or reduce the need for plastic use and other non-renewable raw materials.